Afternoon folks. I got back this morning from a short trip, or 'mini-cruise' as it is titled, to Amsterdam. Approx £60 will get you a ferry overnight from North Shields, followed by a Saturday morning and afternoon in the Dutch city, then another evening and night on the ferry back to England.
A great way to spend £60 of your hard earned cash! Of course it does end up costing more when you add on food and sight seeing (depending on what you want to do), but well worth it. The ferry is fun too and pretty entertaining if you don't mind settling in with a load of cheery, drunk Geordies dancing to 'Aga Do'. Not exactly my scene, but they sure know how to have a good time.
I was led to believe that Amsterdam is all smoking dens and an expansive red light district, but that certainly wasn't the case. Sure theres that too, which is part of it's eclectic and diverse charm, but there is loads more.
Its a huge place, with bustling cris-crossing streets offering a visual feast for the eyes. Set off by rows of quaint town houses along the banks of the canals. Almost all are surrounded by pot plants, flower boxes and have a traditional push bike complete with wicker basket, propped up against their front porch.
It is like something straight off a 'Town and Country' photography shoot, absolutely adorable.
Having never been to Amsterdam before I wanted to take in as much as possible, so although initially we planned to go on the canal trip, we opted to save the 15 euros and explore on foot.
At this point rather than continuing to waffle on, ha ha so appropriate, i will give you the Amsterdam trip in a short photographic story with brief descriptions.
No description needed for this one except just to say "mmm...cheese".
Actually, now i come of think of it a lot of these photos involve food.
The queue for the Anne Frank House was ginormous and this photo doesn't do it justice, as it was round the block.
Needless to say we didn't go. Maybe next time.
Me in a room in the Op Art Museum, a gallery dedicated to optical illusion art, such as Morris Escher.
Not exactly the height of cultural sight seeing, but it was fun.
We spied this, whilst sitting outside an extremely popular pancake house, anticipating the arrival of our long awaited poffertjes. From what we could gather, this is a bar on wheels.
The drinkers pedal whilst a sober (i hope) driver steers them round city and hilarity ensues. Brilliant!! Why no one is doing this in Newcastle yet is a mystery to me. You'd make a mint from all the stag and hen dos. I would go on it even if i wasn't on a hen do.
These are the poffertjes (mentioned in previous post)....
this is my face (gimme, gimme, gimme):
Couldn't resist photographing this cute bench outside a very quaint bakery. I was going to post the photo of the delicious looking baked goods in the window, but i'll leave that one to your imagination.
Besides i'll get a reputation for being food obsessed at this rate.
Below are pictures of the most awesome and surprising part of the trip. We stumbled upon a parade through the streets of 100 vivid Chinese dragons. A pretty spectacular sight, accompanied by booming traditional Chinese drumming. I think I heard someone in the crowd say it was a celebration of 100 years of Chinese settlement in The Netherlands, but i can't be sure. What an unexpected bonus though.
After a long day of walking around we were both knackered. Here is a photo of Dave illustrating that feeling very well, in our last port of call - the pub:
The weather in the afternoon, had massively improved since our morning arrival in the city, so back on board we headed to the top deck to catch some rays and wave goodbye.
As the boat pulled out of the port we were amazed to see the coast packed with kite boarders, land sailors and wind surfers taking advantage of the breezy weather. I guess kite boarding is a popular sport in Amsterdam. Who'd 'ave thunk it!
Well there it is. I hope to go back for a longer trip sometime in the future as i only saw a fraction of what the place has to offer. That leaves nothing more to say really, other than if you've not been to Amsterdam before, then what are you waiting for?